The first agroecological market systems expo (AMASE) kicked off Wednesay, October 26, 2022, at Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi, Kampala.
The event held under the theme: Unlocking Barriers and Opportunities for Scaling up Agroecological Entrepreneurship and Territorial Market Development, is organised by the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda focusing on how to advance accessibility to agroecological, and territorial markets for organic products.
PELUM country co-ordinator Josephine Akia Luyimbazi said they are looking at having a systematic and interrelated way of farming.
“For instance, where you have a farm that has crops, but you also have cattle, meaning that the cow dung, which is produced can be used as fertiliser to enhance your crops. So, it’s built on ecosystem beneficial analysis between the different ecosystems. These include plants and animals,” she said.
Akia added that this is the only type of farming that will ensure the environment is safe, conserved and sustainably utilised for sustainable food systems.
With 27 years in existence, PELUM Uganda has 66 member organisations reaching three million smallholder farmers in over 152 districts.
While officiating at the event, the trade state minister Harriet Ntabazi appreciated the move by PELUM and its partners for marketing organic products as an identity for Uganda.
She added that the move is critical and timely as the Government is also moving to support and lift the 39% of the Ugandans who are still surviving on substance agriculture into the money economy, through the Parish Development Model (PDM) programme.
“In Uganda, we are targeting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs ). We have not yet gone to large entrepreneurs,” she said.
Ntabazi noted that Uganda is one of the leading countries promoting organic products with the main market in the European Union (EU).
“EU is where we have been given quota-free and duty-free access in the market. Our goods go free with no charges, taxes no barriers. The only thing they are looking at is the quality of the goods that we are supplying,” she added.
“We met the EU ambassador and team as the trade ministry and what we are looking at now is partnering with them to form the conformity of quality of goods that their market wants. They are ready to support us. We are going to involve PELUM Uganda to ensure we benefit from this,” she added.
PELUM Uganda Board Chairperson Dr Christopher Kyeswa said there is a great need to discuss how to link farmers to markets.
“We have different talented people like some people have apps which link farmers to buyers,” he added.
Chariton Namuwooza, the chief executive officer of the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) said they are to use the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) to help producers and other actors attain organic certification through the second party certification.
“Through this system, we shall be able to confirm that the products farmers are producing, the farmers whose farms have been visited and verified, conform to the EA organic product standard or any other standard as farmers might find it convenient for them to follow,” he said.